Notebook Pr0n – Midori Traveler’s Notebook

I do love a good notebook.  I have a frankly unhealthy collection of Moleskines, Paperblanks, Archie Grand and Leuchtturms.  This is one brand that I haven’t managed to get my hands on:

MIDORI TRAVELER’S NOTEBOOK.

An expandable, customisable piece of leather loveliness.  There are so many options for making this book your own, and nobody demonstrates that quite like Patrick Ng.  Have a look at his blog to find out more about these gorgeous notebooks.

Traveler's Factory store in Meguro, Tokyo

Photo from Patrick Ng’s Photostream on Flickr.

Yet Another Filofax Again – Pocket Guildford

When I wrote my last Scribbles post, I’d just settled on using the Mini Guildford Filofax. I ended that post with:

It’s quite possible I’ll be back to the Moleskine within a day or two, or that I’ll try to stretch my jeans pocket to cram in my Pocket Filofax. I have a worrying amount of fun trying them, though, and that’s the important thing.

I was writing that entry in the Filofax at the time, and by time I’d written it, I was feeling cramped on such small paper. It doesn’t help that the Mini paper has slightly wider lines than the larger Pocket paper. By the time I was typing that post up, I’d pretty much decided that the Mini was too small. I tried my old Pocket Lyndhurst again. It was good, with a lot more space for my notes, but a bit of a stretch on the pocket. Although they call that size “Pocket”, it’s only really for quite big pockets.

The Lyndhurst is one of the biggest Filofax binders in any given size – the Pocket Lyndhurst is the biggest of the Pocket binders. So, I decided to have a look at the other Pocket binders, and see how much difference it made. We had a trip to Staples, and I tried a few, including the pocket test (which must look very suspicious – especially when I have one Filofax in my pocket at the start of my testing, so end up grabbing one back from the shelf and into my pocket before leaving). None of them seemed small enough that I was sure. I bought some paper in both Pocket and Mini sizes so I could continue my experiments with the binders I already had.

I switched everything over to the Pocket Lyndhurst, and used it for a few days. Despite being a bit of a pocket-bulge, it went well. I finally gave in when we popped into another branch of Staples for more paper, and bought a Pocket Guildford. I already had the Mini Guildford, and it’s a really nice binder – a big full ‘wallet-style’ pocket around the outside, zipped section and card pockets on the inside, but keeping quite a small, thin profile.

So far, I’m getting on very well with it. It’s still quite big for a pocket, and probably not what most people would count as pocketable, but it works well for me. The Pocket sized paper is just big enough that I don’t feel like I’m getting through too many sheets, and lists can consist of a reasonable number of items. It’s just like the Pocket Lyndhust, but slightly easier on the pocket.

Alright Michael, I get it. Now help me.

I used to take the proverbial out of my husband for the way he’d constantly be fiddling around with his ‘system’. He’d scribble his thoughts and ideas into notebooks, various sizes of filofax, various digital devices, but nothing really sticks and he’s always changing his mind. It seemed quite hilarious and very odd to me, until a week or so ago. As 2007 prepares for the final curtain and 2008 waits in the wings, I also find myself in need of a comfortable and reliable way of recording my food diaries and other bits and bobs.

This year, as I settled into doing Slimming World, I played around with various different ways of keeping a food diary and planning shopping lists. I had a Hipster PDA for a while, various notebooks and two different sizes of Filofax. I ended up settling with a Paperblanks diary that the Organisational Master himself bought for me back in Nottingham last year. It worked a treat. So, you’d think the solution would be easy… get another one? Yeah, I thought that too until I couldn’t bloody find one. Our local suppliers seemed to run out of any diaries around, er, Christmas…

In the absence of the obvious answer, same again for ’08, I went on the hunt for a suitable replacement. It seems no other diary has the same layout as the Paperblanks, and most seem to think that weekends don’t need as much space as the rest of the week. I looked at Filofaxes, and in a moment of utter lunacy bought a cheap ‘personal’ size one. I was happy with this for a while, until I tried using it. It just doesn’t feel right. There’s not enough room, the damn thing’s too big, and it’s not a Paperblanks diary, dammit!

So today I’ve tried going the way of the DIY Planner, making my own special custom diary with space to write everything down, little tickboxes for what day I’m doing and… feh, it smacks. Frankly it requires more time using Excel than I’m willing to when I’m not being paid.

Michael, it’s no good. I’ve got to get a Paperblanks. Nothing else is going to work. You know how it is. That’s why you’ll be asking for your A5 Lyndhurst back in a couple of months, and this time I promise I won’t take the piss. I know how it feels now.

Yet Another Filofax – Mini Guildford

I recently switched back to using my Pocket Lyndhurst Filofax. Notebooks were going ok, but for the question of where my ‘GTD-style’ lists went. I tried putting them on the computer, but I never got around to even putting them there in the first place. I came up with a couple of different ideas for mixing them in with my usual daily notes, or putting them in the back of the same notebook, but neither felt right. It would either take too long to find a list when I needed to quickly check something, or it would take too long to copy the lists over every time I started a new book.

I did toy with the idea of just not keeping lists at all, but things kind of fell down without at least having a shopping list on the go, and I concluded that lists are good, I just need to be more careful about filling them up with things that I have no intention of actually doing, then using them to torture myself for procrastinating. Simplify.

The Filofax could work in a simple linear way, like a notebook, for general daily scribblings and notes, but could also have lists in another section, easy to find, and rarely needing copying out again.

The only problem I found after a while of using it again was that even the Pocket size was a bit too big. It fit in my jeans pocket, but it really packed my pocket out, and was big enough to be awkward to get in and out of it.

After lots of pondering and comparing, I finally ended up buying a Mini (smaller than a Pocket size) Guildford from Staples. I picked up a ‘today’ ruler, and lots of lined paper at the same time, along with just a little plain paper. I grabbed a set of subject dividers from WHSmith back in Tiverton, and so far, things are going well.

The Mini size doesn’t fell too much smaller when using it as a Filofax, but it feels much more reasonable to use as a wallet, where the Pocket always felt a bit ridiculous. Time will tell how well I stick to it in the longer term, but I’m certainly liking it so far.

At least this time I wasn’t alone – Sam was having great trouble settling on the right thing to use for a diary for next year. With doing Slimming World, having the right format to track her eating for each day is important. A combination of Filofax and WHSmith held the answer for her, too, with a smart new bag bringing it all together.

Keeping a Journal

Latest Update: Added a post from Working On Me on how to restart when you’ve stopped journaling.

Thinking of starting a journal? It’s a popular activity now, particularly among women, to help make sense of life by keeping a written record of thoughts, hopes and dreams. Here are a few tips and links:

Benefits of Journalling

  • The main benefit of keeping a journal is the same as GTD’s – it’s getting stuff out of your head and onto paper.
  • When keeping a journal you are your own audience, so your writing can be as wild and free as you wish. You don’t even have to write. You can draw, or collage… you call the shots.
  • It’s a record of your life and your thoughts.
  • You decide who gets to see it.
  • You can swear as much as you like.

How to Start

  • Get a nice notebook, Moleskines are a favourite here, but there are loads of great notebooks out there to choose from. Depends on what size you want, whether it needs to be pocketable, or whether you’d like to be able to do other stuff in it too, like paint.
  • Start on an occasion, like a birthday, or a wedding, or a birth – I started my first journal on New Year’s Day, 2005. Starting on a new year is a good chance to review the year gone by and write about your hopes and dreams for the future.

How to Restart

  • If you’ve let your journal go unused for a while, Working On Me has a great tip for getting started again – not just ignoring the gap, but not trying to jump in and cover it all either.

Other Tips

  • Use whatever feels most comfortable at the time – pen, pencil, felt tip, eyeliner…
  • Have you written something you’d be mortified with embarrassment about if anyone else saw it? Paint over it! Get out the markers and scribble over it. Turn it into a piece of art.

Handy Links

In my journal…

I’ve recently started journaling again – using an A4 landscape Snowdon Cartridge “Fat Pad”. So far the book contains dip pen sketches, watercolour patterns, writing and a bit of collage. It’s a big colourful mess of a book, but it’s so much fun! Photos may come when I have a page I feel like sharing…

What’s in your journal?

Got pictures of your journal you’d like to share? Post links to your photos here in the comments.

Happy journaling!